“Warning all human sympathy to keep its distance!” A Christmas Carol Musing 2
“Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, “My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?” No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men’s dogs appeared to know him; and, when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, “No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!”
But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing one’s call “nuts” to Scrooge.” (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, Stave 1)
Lynn and I are back in Mozambique and in our “home” for the Christmas season. Lynn has recovered so well and we are so grateful for the prayers and kind encouragement of so many of you! The human kindness shown to us in South Africa from friends preparing meals to good friends making their home available to us without cost, was humbling but just what we needed!
After returning, we have witnessed over and over the kindness of our team and mission partners as they have expressed significant amounts of human kindness as we have navigated the mountain of work and challenges that awaited us! There are so many examples of this, but just one of these was yesterday when Shannon took most of her day to help me get my laptop to print again!
I am sure a few of you may be able to identify with me when I say that I am often daunted and overwhelmed by the needs of so many around me, and in our world! I often cannot even meet the needs of my own family so far away, and so keeping “human sympathy” at a distance seems like the thing to do to survive.
I am challenged however by the thought that Christmas is an expression of just the opposite. Jesus could easily have kept his distance, but just the opposite is true… ”The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14) There are “crowded paths of life” and often they are filled with people we struggle to identify with, but Christ invites us to sympathize with those in need. And I can assure you there are many in need right around you this Christmas. Let’s open our hearts to them and intentionally express the warmth that draws people and heals people.
Finally, I was fascinated to note that even in Dickens’ time blind men must have had dogs! After returning to Mozambique three weeks ago, we finally were able to pick up our new puppy, Ruger. He is a boerboel or South African mastiff. His excitement to see me each morning or when I return from a day of work, and the warmth this little guy shows, is just another reminder of the difference we can have in the lives of others, so long as we take the time and make the effort to care!
If you are interested in checking out our 2018 Unique Christmas Gift Brochure click here. Please note, that the Brochure PDF has active links to take you to video you may find encouraging!